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Preface

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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: June 2, 2004
Reviewed:
Latest Update: June 9, 2004

E-Mail Icon jeannecurran@habermas.org
takata@uwp.edu

Index of Topics on Site Bolman and Deal: Reframing Organizations
Conceptual Summary
Bolman and Deal differentiate carefully between leadership and management. Both are essential to a smoot-running and effectively managed enterprise. How do they define the difference?
"Leading and management are different, but both are important. If an organization is overmanaged but underled, it eventually loses any sense of spirit or purpose. A poorly managed organization with a strong, charismatic leader may soar briefly only to crash shortly thereafter." (At p. xvi.)

That doesn't really tell us much, does it? Let's see if we can be a little more specific.

  • Overmanaged = loss of sense of spirit or purpose
  • Undermanaged = crash, but not clear why

  • Overled = soaring
  • Underled = loss of sense of spirit or purpose

Hmmm. This isn't a football game, so what do we mean by spirit? Very few enterprises have a strong sense of purpose to anything other than making money. Now, actually, Bolman and Dean are going to complain that an enterprise should have "leaders and managers who appreciate management as a moral and ethical undertaking." (At p. xvi.) So, how abou:

Enterprise spirit is a sense of fulfillment, personal success, and a sense of contributing through one's work efforts to the community as a whole, by either making something or supporting something that benefits everyone.

Now, what could symbolize having too much enterprise spirit = "soaring?" What would leaders and managers have to do to have this overled result? Well, if too many workers are too caught up in their own success, you might have a result such as we had with the Financial Manager, Fastow, of Enron. I would suspect that Bolman and Deal might describe Fastow as "soaring." But then we'd have to decide if Kenneth Lay, the Chief Executive Officer, was soaring, too. If too many of your executives are soaring, you might indeed crash, as Enron taught us.

I've decribed Fastow, whom I do not know, and of whom I have no personal knowledge, as "soaring" in fulfillment of his personal success, as described in reports I've read. But our definition of spirit includes more than personal fulfillment and success. It also appertains to creating benefits for the community as a whole, for everyone. When the enterprise becomes financially unstable, as Enron clearly did, then many workers and the community are seriously harmed. So Fastow soars on one measure, but was a hazard on another. I'd say he'd qualify as one of Bolman's charismatic (at least within his own group of peers) leaders who took the company soaring, only to crash.

Then what about Kenneth Lay, who in the most recent New York Times article I read (June 28, 2004) accepted responsibility for the disaster as the Chief Executive Officer. Was he soaring? Well, he certainly liked having access to the White House, and liked being considered one of the top corporate leaders. That could mean that he was soaring, too. But leaders don't get to be either leaders or managers alone. That's a duality, which does not fit the complexity of the huge operations they manage. While Lay might have been soaring, he waited a little too long to kick in as "management."

Now, what do I mean by "management?" When we have overmanagement, we kill the spirit. When we have undermanagement, we let the spirit soar, individually and collectively, I would guess, until the whole thing crashes. So, how about this for "management:"

"Management is the task of holding each worker acccountable for his/her performance of corporately defined tasks, and checking that accountability consistently enough to keep all the parts and the whole of the corporate enterprise running smoothly. That would mean there would have to be some checks and balances, kind of like measures of learning, and that workers and leaders and managers alike would be expected to communicate consistently such mesures over time. A major leadership and management task would be agreeing with all workers on effective measures."

Overmanagement would then consist of measuring ineffectively, so that measurement took up more time than production. That would be like testing programs in schools that lead teachers to teach to the test. (See Carnegie Perspectives: Teaching to the Test By Lloyd Bond. April 2004.) Creates too much stress all around, and saps creative energy that should go into production. Such overmanagement would tend to kill of spirit and lead to a demoralized environment. But if we think of overmanagement as ineffective measurement of competency and consistency in work, then we can spot it a little more easily that looking for signs that an operation is about to crash. And most workers who are soaring on their personal success aren't going to let the manager see that.

Undermanagement would then be failing to respond to inconsistencies in communication, or poorly defining, and failing to communicate measures of competency and effectiveness. (See our Standards in Grading: The Five C's competence, communiction, consistency, cooperation, creativity.) Undermanagement would encourage personal soaring. Personal soaring would also very probably trigger adversarial compulsion (Fellman) amongst wowrkers and contribute to the instability of a good human relations environment.

Discussion Questions

  1. What constitutes enterprise leadership?

    Try reading our explanation, reading Bolman and Deal's explanation, then closing the book and forget about it for a while. Then go back to write your onw definition, and you'll find that you're not hung up on our words. DON'T MEMORIZE. This isn't about testing. It's about getting this information into your apperceptive mass where you can easily access when you need it.

  2. What constitutes enterprise management?

    Try reading our explanation, reading Bolman and Deal's explanation, then closing the book and forget about it for a while. Then go back to write your onw definition, and you'll find that you're not hung up on our words. DON'T MEMORIZE. This isn't about testing. It's about getting this information into your apperceptive mass where you can easily access when you need it.

  3. Are management and leadership a duality, where you can be one or the other?

    Recall that dualities are extremes and rarely deal with the complexities of the real world.

  4. Isn't soaring a good thing?

    Recall the myth of Icarus.

  5. What's wrong with teaching to the test?

    See Carnegie Perspectives: Teaching to the Test By Lloyd Bond. April 2004. Backup.



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